Winds of change: Bengal to house premier learning centres

Kolkata | Updated: Oct 31 2005, 06:45am hrs
West Bengal can now truly claim to be a premier seat of learning. For, despite claiming to be the intellectual capital of the country with an enviable source of skilled manpower, till now the Left Front-ruled state couldnt flaunt any new academic or professional institute of national repute. It had little to show except an Indian Institute of Management campus, the Indian Statistical Institute, IIT (Kharagpur) and a few universities all of which have been in the state for long.

But the scenario is all set to change. The state will soon have second campuses of two premier institutes of repute the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. In addition, a business school of international standards is to be set up by the RP Goenka group, as also a school with American affiliation.

The second campus of the Indian Institute of Science at Salt Lake, on the eastern fringes of Kolkata, modelled on IISc, Bangalore, will be built at a cost of Rs 500 crore. This will be the single largest central funding in the educational sector in Bengal ever since the Indian Institute of Management (Joka) came up on the outskirts of the city.

IISc Bangalore is one of its kind in the country and is now widely regarded as a centre for excellence in science education and cutting-edge research. It plans to replicate itself in Bengal, thanks to persistent lobbying by state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was instrumental in getting cabinet nod for the project last week.

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Bengal will have second campuses of two premier institutes of repute the IISc and the IIFT
A business school of international standard to be set up by the RP Goenka group
The United States, too, is pushing a proposal to start an American International School
While IISc, Kolkata, will take some time to see the light of the day, the second full-fledged campus of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade outside New Delhi would start functioning during the current year, commerce minister Kamal Nath announced during his visit last week.

The Centre will be putting in Rs 10 crore into IIFT. Initially, it will operate out of rented premises till its own campus is built, for which about seven acres has been sought from the state government. Additional funding will be provided after land is acquired, Kamal Nath has assured. IIFT was set up in New Delhi in 1963.

The week also saw the state education department clearing the proposal of the Goenkas to set up a management institute of global standard. The state urban development ministry is currently studying the proposal, Mr Bhattacharjee said, while conferring the Outstanding Young Achiever Award to Sanjiv Goenka. Meanwhile, the US is pushing a proposal to start an American International School in the state, US consul general, Henry V Jardine, said recently during a programme organised by Confederation of Indian Industry.